President Gordon B. Hinckley said that although he sometimes regrets that some people do not call the Church by its proper name, he is happy that the nickname they use - "the Mormon Church" - is one of great honor made by a remarkable man and a book that gives an unmatched testimony concerning the Redeemer.
Nicknames, President Hinckley noted in an address at the October 1990 general conference, have a way of becoming fixed. He told how a missionary associate in England more than 50 years earlier had said that he regarded the word Mormon to mean "more good." He noted that Joseph Smith referred to it as such in 1843. ((See Times and Seasons , 4:194; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith , pp. 299-300.)President Hinckley spoke of the greatness and goodness of Mormon. "He lived on this American continent in the fourth century after Christ. When he was a boy of 10 the historian of the people, whose name was Ammoron, described Mormon as `a sober child, and . . . quick to observe." (Morm. 1:2.) Ammoron gave him a charge that when he reached the age of 24, he was to take custody of the records of the generations who had preceded him.
"The years that followed Mormon's childhood were years of terrible bloodshed for his nation, the result of a long and vicious and terrible war between those who were called Nephites and those who were called Lamanites.
"Mormon later became the leader of the armies of the Nephites and witnessed the carnage of his people, making it plain to them that their repeated defeats came because they forsook the Lord and He in turn abandoned them. His nation was destroyed with the slaughter of hundreds of thousands. He was one of only 24 who survived. As he looked upon the moldering remains of what once had been legions, he cried: `O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!' (Morm. 6:17.)
"He wrote to our generation with words of warning and pleading, proclaiming with eloquence his testimony of the resurrected Christ. He warned of calamities to come if we should forsake the ways of the Lord as his own people had done.
"Knowing that his own life would soon be brought to an end, as his enemies hunted the survivors, he pleaded for our generation to walk with faith, hope, and charity, declaring: `Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.' (Moro. 7:47.)
"Such was the goodness, the strength, the power, the faith, the prophetic heart of the prophet-leader Mormon.
"He was the chief compiler of the book which is called after his name and which has come forth in this period of the world's history as a voice speaking from the dust in testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Further, President Hinckley said: "Anyone who comes to know the man Mormon, through the reading and pondering of his words, anyone who reads this precious trove of history which was assembled and preserved in large measure by him, will come to know that Mormon is not a word of disrepute, but that it represents the greatest good - that good which is of God."